We’re glad you’re here! We hope you got a chance to watch James Walker’s newest wakesurf trick, a surf style backside big spin. It’s killer and sort of in line with James’ focus for tricks in the coming months. James style of wakesurfing comes from his background in wakeskate, skateboard and snowboarding. James mostly freestyles and you can see his innovative and progressive style in his wakesurfing. James wakesurfer is designed and built to help him in that regard. There isn’t a singular style, each of the top riders has their own unique style. In building a wakesurfer, a great deal of consideration has to be given to that unique e style of the rider and while it may not be mutually exclusive, construction can be tailored to optimize for a wakesurfers particular riding style. This is different than the underlying board and technique, but instead the flow of the riders ride! James’ style is technical, to a T.
In particular, James’ progressive wakesurfing style includes a great deal of rotational moves, along with pure vertical tricks. We’re going to show you a couple of pictures, and talk about the forces that are being applied to the board at those moments, but before that we want to backtrack a bit.
In composites construction, fabric comes in all sorts of flavors, weaves, weights and colors! In particular, many fabrics are woven at right angles and there are also unidirectional fabrics that have no weaves at all. When using unidirectional fabrics the engineer can specify the direction of the fabric and the amount of weight and in doing so can engineer the part being constructed to best suit the conditions. So the designer might indicate for the length of the part it needs three times as much reinforcement as the width, based upon the demands placed upon the part in that direction.
Now typical fabric used with wakesurfers are woven and are balanced, mostly. That is the amount of fibers running lengthwise are the same as running widthwise, per inch. Does that make sense in our wakesurfing environment? Probably not. We can guess from observation that the forces applied to a wakesurfer when riding are not equally balanced length and width, so what happens is that the fabric has to be heavy enough to control the greatest force in the one direction and the other direction is overly heavy and unbalanced. It would be great if we could find unidirectional fabrics in all weights and widths, but the reality is that they just aren’t available.
So let’s look at an example and design a competition level fork. WHAT?! It’s just for an example. Would you want the same amount of reinforcement running the length of the fork as across it’s width? Probably that’s overkill in the width direction. We know that picking up a big piece of steak will MOSTLY put foce on the fork runing the length of the fork, so it would make sense that the lengthwise reinforcements would be heavier and more robust than the widthwise direction.
Certainly a woven fabric with equal threads in both directions could be used, but it would add weight and might give funny “handling” characteristics. In effect the width would be stiffer than the length. Is that what we want in our wakesurf boards? Well, for James’ riding style, no it isn’t. James style is very well rounded with tricks on the surface and in the air, going straight and rotational. This progessive nature requires a slight change in the orientation of the fabrics to best suit him.
Let’s look quickly at some pictures. In this first one, James is out in the flats turning back into the wake. He isn’t at a right angle to the wake, instead heading out forward and to the left, the path is probably about 45 degrees to both. Also, as he intitaes the turn, the rail is buried and there is more pressure and weight on the tail than towards the nose.
So in looking at that picture, does it make sense that we’d want the reinforcement running the length of the board and then at a right angle to that across the width? Not fully, right? To best optimize the reinforcement to resist the loads placed upon the wakesurf board in the picture, we’d want some reinforcement to run diagonally from the inside rail at the nose across the board towards the outside rail at the tail. Reinforcement oriented in that direction would give us the best resistenace to that torsional twisting load. There are biased cut or woven fabrics for just this sort of application.
Here is another picture that will show a twisting torsional load. James isn’t going up for an aerial in this picture, instead just splashing the boat.
The water that is under the board runs diagonally from the front rail across and out the back towards the tail on the opposite rail. Without any support from the water along that diagonal path you can see that pushing down on the wakesurf board will result in a twisting effect. Again, some form of diagonal reinforcement would provide the greatest resistance to that load.
Intuitively you would think at least some reinforcement running about +- 45 degrees from nose to tail would be best, but in our testing that didn’t seem to be the case. Also, the FlyBoy Wakesurf boards have about 8 layers of reinforcement, each of which can be run on a bias in some form or another. The options are something crazy like 8 to the 8th power or some crazy amount and we felt like we built that many wakesurf boards in the off season! We’re going to keep the bias angle and the layer(s) count proprietary for the time being, just recognize that we’ve done a ton of testing and feel we’ve developed a board that has the reinforcement angles optimized for James’ style of riding. In short, the location in the depth of the laminate stack had a considerable impact on the responsiveness. Most traditional construction doesn’t afford the abilty to run reinforcements on a bias in a balanced manner, luckily the composite sandwich construction employed in the Flyboy Wakesurf board construction doesn’t impose this limitation.
Thanks so much for following along and we’ll be introducing a new board variation here soon, so we hope you’ll come back soon!